Frequently asked questions for patients regarding e-Consult
What is eConsult?
eConsult is a platform that allows you to seek self-help information from the NHS, through your GP practice or surgery website. Services include self-help information, advice or help from local services which may be appropriate for your condition, such as self-referral services or help from your local pharmacy. eConsult also allows you to seek advice online from your own GP for your condition or if you need general or administrative advice.
How does eConsult work?
eConsult asks you questions about your symptoms or existing condition, and only takes a few minutes to complete. After filling in some details about you, to verify who you are, your eConsult is sent to your GP practice, so that they can help you. In having this information upfront, your practice can then decide on the best course of action for helping you manage your symptoms and condition, and this may mean you don’t have to come into the surgery unnecessarily.
If your symptoms sound very serious, the system has been built with the clinical knowledge to know that you may need help more quickly than your practice can provide - in these cases, it will stop you from completing your eConsult and suggest that you seek urgent medical advice.
Why use eConsult?
One of the key benefits of eConsult is that it is available at any time and from any device - meaning you can ask for advice from your GP without having to queue on the phone at 8:00am or wait weeks for an appointment you may not need. You can complete eConsult from the comfort of your own home, on a break at work, or on the train home. eConsults can be clinical or administrative in nature, and in most cases, your GP may not need to see you face-to-face for an appointment.
If you decide you want to manage your condition without contacting your practice, eConsult can guide you towards trusted medical advice as well as relevant local services, such as pharmacy support, which may be more appropriate than visiting your GP practice.
The eConsult service can be trusted - it was built for NHS GPs by NHS GPs, and is the leading online consultation provider across the UK.
Who can use eConsult?
eConsult is available for anyone from the age of 6 months and up. Parents or guardians can complete eConsults for children aged 6 months up to 18 years of age, although 16 to 18-year olds can also complete eConsults for themselves. There is no upper age limit for eConsults.
What can I use eConsult for?
eConsult is one of a range of services your GP practice offers to make accessing the right help from general practice easy. eConsults can be either administrative or medical (clinical) in need.
eConsult can help you to manage your condition or symptoms by providing you with the best self-help information available, access to local services, or a convenient way to get help and advice from your GP practice. Instead of having to wait weeks for an appointment or queue on the phone for hours, eConsult allows you to tell your practice what you need help or treatment for, so that they can advise you on the best next steps, all at your convenience.
eConsult should not be used for emergencies. Should you report symptoms that our clinical governance team have deemed to require more urgent help than your GP practice may be able to provide, your eConsult will be stopped. You will be advised that your eConsult will not be sent to your practice, and that you should seek advice from the relevant urgent care service (e.g. A&E, Urgent Care Centre or NHS 111 helpline).
As a parent or guardian of a child between the ages of 6 months to 18 years, you will be able to submit eConsults about a limited list of symptoms or conditions. For all other matters relating to children please call our reception team.
eConsults can also be used to follow-up on previous discussions or appointments you have had with your doctor. This means you can avoid having to make an appointment with the doctor, but you can still keep them informed of the outcome. In this way, you can tell your doctor the outcome in your own time, knowing that they will respond in the most appropriate way, even if this is just to thank you for keeping them updated.
How do I access eConsult?
eConsult is available on your practice website from any device and at any time of day. You will see a banner on your practice’s website that invites you to contact your doctors online. Depending on the type of advice or help you then select, you will be presented with different options that may include an online form used to seek help or advice from your GP.
If you don’t have access to the internet or a device that would allow you to use eConsult, a member of the reception team will help you to complete an eConsult over the telephone.
Can I submit an eConsult for someone else/my child?
As a parent or guardian of a child between the ages of 6 months to 18 years, you will be able to submit eConsults about symptoms or conditions. Patients using the eConsult service should submit forms based on their own symptoms or conditions.
In some cases, it may be likely that people need help submitting an eConsult, perhaps because they cannot access or are not comfortable using services online. In these situations, please speak to a member of the reception team for assistance.
What happens once I submit my eConsult?
Once you have submitted your eConsult online, you will receive a copy of the eConsult report via email. This email will also contain the unique reference number for your eConsult, should you need to speak to the practice about any of the information in contains.
The practice will aim to respond to your eConsult by the end of the next working day, but often sooner.
The practice may respond in a variety of ways, based on the advised next steps or the urgency of the information you have provided:
- You may be offered an appointment, either on the day or for a later date. This may not be with your GP, but may be with an advanced nurse practitioner or other health professional at the practice, depending on your query.
- You may receive a phone call for you to speak to a health professional at the practice, this is because you may not need a face-to-face appointment to resolve your query. This will save you from having to come into the practice.
- You may be directed to another health professional outside of the practice, as they may be best placed to offer you the advice or support you need. These may include local pharmacy support, a minor injuries unit or other services such as physiotherapy.
- You may be directed towards the appropriate self-help advice by a member of the practice.
We may call you back or leave a voicemail if we are unable to reach you. You may receive a text message or email with further information; however, you may not be able to respond to the message you have received. This is to ensure your safety, as we cannot discuss personal matters unless we are certain we are speaking to you, or someone who you have authorised to speak to us on your behalf.
How will I benefit from eConsult?
- eConsult allows you to seek advice from your GP or help yourself to manage your condition or symptoms at all hours of the day, from wherever you are. This may be the same GP at the same practice that you have been to for years, meaning they are familiar with your medical history and can continue to treat you.
- The service will make interacting with your GP more convenient - you may not have to come into the practice to get help, meaning you don’t have to take unnecessary days off from work or can stay at home if you feel poorly.
- You won’t have to queue on the phone as soon as the practice opens in order to get an appointment - you simply tell the practice what you need help or advice for, and they will let you know if you need a face to face appointment, and how soon this needs to be.
- If your problem might be treated without a face-to-face appointment, saving you a trip to your practice. Instead your GP may call you to discuss the best next steps, send you for tests before a face-to-face appointment, or send your prescription to the local pharmacy to be collected.
How will the practice benefit from eConsult?
- Patients with the most urgent issues will be identified quickly and offered appointments earlier than the current system allows. This is because we will already have an idea of what you might need help for. This will improve safety by making sure those who need help quickly get it.
- We will try to make sure your eConsult is dealt with by the GP you have requested - this means you will continue to be cared for by the doctor that knows you best. This will be possible because they will have time to better manage the needs of all their patients.
- Your GP may not be the most appropriate person to see - eConsult helps us to know what you might need help for, so that you can see the right member of staff for the help you need the first time around. This means that we can better manage available resources in a time of difficulties within the NHS.
- As we can see what patients using eConsult might need help for, requests can be seen and a decision made on how urgently patients need to be seen, if they need a face-to-face appointment at all. We can then offer appointments in the practice to those who need them most urgently, or are available to make visits to elderly patients at home or in care homes.
Why are you making these changes?
As we’re sure you have read in the media, the NHS faces many concerns, and general practice is a key part of ensuring patients get the best care. We need to do all we can to modernise and prepare for future challenges.
People are living longer and with more long-term health problems that require more medical help and support. Patients are going to see their GP twice as many times each year as they were 10 years ago. There is increasing difficulty for practices to recruit and retain doctors or other staff to work in their surgeries and in the last few years, across the UK, many practices have had to close down as a result of this.
Continually developing and modernising the way we work as a practice will help us provide a high-quality service to patients while ensuring that we remain a strong and sustainable medical practice for the future so that this care can be provided to generations of families to come.
We believe that eConsult allows us to offer you more convenient access to information and advice. It helps us to deliver great care to our patients, allowing us to prioritise patients who need more urgent care or need to be seen face to face, whilst still enabling us to provide advice to patients who have a less urgent need for advice.
From Monday 15th June 2020 we will no longer have access to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please can we request that all patients attending the surgery for a face to face appointment are asked to wear a cloth face mask or other face covering before entering the building. This has been agreed for GP Practices over the whole of Dorset and is also being implemented at the hospitals for outpatient appointments. A clinical mask is not necessary as these need to be prioritised for clinical staff. Wearing a face covering is an added precaution to reduce the likelihood that an infected person would pass on the infection through droplets from the nose or mouth and also reduce the area that it can be spread.
Lyme Bay Dental Practice
The safety of our patients and staff is top priority as we begin to reopen our doors and return to providing you with the same standard of dental care that you have been used to. As such, there are a few things you will need to consider before your appointment. Please read our appointment procedure before contacting the sugery
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE A very small number of our patients will already have been identified as being high risk. They will have received a text message or letter from the NHS in the past week. Those patients should stay at home for 12 weeks. NHS Digital are currently working to identify the additional patients who will also be advised to stay home for 12 weeks. We anticipate this information imminently but currently we are not able to confirm which patients will fall into this group. Until we receive further guidance, we are unable to issue supportive letters regarding potential high-risk patients. Our advice to all our patients is to stay home, apart from essential shopping, essential work and one form of exercise each day. In all circumstances keep a 2-metre distance from other people and wash your hands regularly.
Take care, stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives
Patient Information for Routine Dental Appointments
Why routine dental treatments are not available
Dental check-ups and treatments involve close contact between the dentist and patient and so should not take place. Also, dentists and their teams have to avoid using tools like drills and the ones used for scales and polishes. This is to prevent them from catching the virus from an infected patient and passing it on to other patients.
Drills and other high-speed tools create a lot of ‘spray’ from patients’ mouths so dentists need to use protective clothing and equipment.
COVID-19 has a seven-day period before symptoms show, where someone wouldn’t know they had it and could pass it on to others. If an unsuspecting patient had a filling, the spray from doing that procedure would likely infect the dentist and the nurse.
What if I have a dental emergency?
Assuming you have not got COVID-19 related symptoms, you should call the practice on 01297 443399 and the dentist on duty will be able to decide what your options are.
If you believe or know you have COVID-19 and have a dental emergency, please use 111online or phone NHS 111.
The Oral Health Foundation also has information for patients at this time.
Advice in your region:
Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading
Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.
You can only leave your home:
- to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
- to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
- for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
- to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary
What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms
Continue to stay at home if you have either:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
For information on:
- Staying at home, visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice
- Isolation notes, visit https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note
- Social distancing, visit https://gov.uk/guidance-on-social-distancing
Please note: Our appointment system has changed short term
What to do if you have symptoms
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone
For patients concerned that they may have coronavirus or may have come into contact with someone who has, the NHS 111 online service has created coronavirus pages that tell patients what they should do based on their particular circumstances. These can be accessed at
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.
What's the risk of coronavirus in the UK?
The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate.
Health professionals are working to contact anyone who has been in close contact with people who have coronavirus.
What's the risk of coronavirus for travellers?
There are some countries and areas where there's a higher chance of coming into contact with someone with coronavirus.
Symptoms of coronavirus
The symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a cough
- a high temperature
- shortness of breath
But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.
The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
How coronavirus is spread
Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.
Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.
It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.
How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Advice for people returning to the UK and travellers to the UK
You may need to get medical advice if you've recently travelled to the UK from somewhere with a higher risk of coronavirus.
These places are:
- Hong Kong
- Myanmar (Burma)
- South Korea
- Tenerife – only the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel
If you've been to one of these places in the last 14 days, find out what to do using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone
Information about the virus
A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
Novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.
Advice for travellers
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised UK nationals to leave China where possible. If the situation continues to escalate the pressure on the Chinese health system may intensify, and it may also become harder for people to travel.
This change does not affect our advice for those returning from Wuhan or mainland China.
Travellers from Wuhan and Hubei Province
If you have travelled from Wuhan or Hubei Province to the UK in the last 14 days you should immediately:
- stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
- call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the area
Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus.
Travellers from other parts of China and other specified areas
This advice applies to travellers who have returned to the UK from the following areas:
- Republic of Korea
- Hong Kong
If you have returned to the UK from any of these areas in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, you should immediately:
- stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
- call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the country
Please follow this advice even if your symptoms are minor.
What this means in practice
We are asking people to take simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, like they would with other flu viruses.
This means remaining at home for 14 days after arriving from Wuhan or Hubei Province (or elsewhere in China if you have symptoms) and not going to work, school or public areas.
Where possible, you should avoid having visitors to your home, but it’s ok for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.
You should not use public transport or taxis until 14 days after your return from Wuhan or Hubei Province (or elsewhere in China if you have symptoms).
Getting food and medicine
We recommend that you stay at home for 14 days after arriving from Wuhan or Hubei Province (or elsewhere in China if you have symptoms), and avoid public places. Where possible, contact a friend, family member or delivery services to carry out errands on your behalf.
Taking children to school
We recommend that you stay at home for 14 days after arriving from Wuhan or Hubei Province (or elsewhere in China if you have symptoms), and avoid public places. Where possible, contact a friend or family member to take your children to school.
Why the advice has changed
This is an evolving situation and the advice has changed based on emerging information from China about the number of cases and spread of the infection from person to person.
This is a highly precautionary measure to limit the potential spread of infection.
Dorset and Wiltshire AAA Screening Programme
The Dorset and Wiltshire National Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme invites all men registered with a GP for a screening in the year they turn 65. Men over 65 who have not previously been screened or treated for an AAA can request screening.
They are available at Lyme Regis Medical Centre every Tuesday & Friday from 10 - 12pm
Protected Learning Time
Lyme Bay Medical Practice will be closed on Wednesday 29th January 2020 from 3.30pm for Protected Learning Time
We re-open at 8am on Thursday 30th January at 8am
Please note: There will be no access to the medical reception during this time but the dental department will be open as usual
Should you require medical assistance during this time PLEASE CALL 111
or in a life threatening situation PLEASE CALL 999
We are pleased to announce that Louise has passed further exams and is now a fully qualified Nurse Practitioner.
Patients Travelling Abroad – Prescriptions & Advice
Prescriptions for patients traveling out of the country
By law, the NHS ceases to have responsibility for the medical care of patients when they leave the UK. People traveling within Europe are advised to carry an authorised European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) at all times and this gives entitlement to reduced cost (and sometimes free) medical treatment. Patients should be advised to check specific entitlements prior to travel.
For patients who will be out of the country for less than 3 months, it is reasonable to provide sufficient medicines for an existing condition (i.e. asthma, diabetes).
For patients leaving the country for more than 3 months, they should be advised to register with a local doctor for their continuing medical needs. It is reasonable for GPs to provide sufficient medication to give patients time to do this.
The NHS accepts responsibility for supplying ongoing medication for temporary periods abroad of up to 3 months. If a person is going to be abroad for more than three months then all that the patient is entitled to at NHS expense is a sufficient supply of his/her regular medication in order to get to their destination, where they should then find an alternative supply of that medication. You may be committing fraud in prescribing to patients that are leaving the UK – please note this information carefully. The patients location is not an issue and how the practice deal with this is not laid down contractually so it’s your decision as a practice. However, whatever you do decide must be consistent and non-discriminatory for all patients. It may be that your practice decides their policy is that if a patient, following triage, may need to be seen within a certain timeframe but cannot get to you that you can’t undertake this type of consultation but this would need to be a policy for all patients requesting this.
Your policy may be that you are prepared to offer advice to patients who are purely on holiday for a short period. However, those patients who have moved to reside abroad or are away for a period of 3 months or more should be removed from your patient list.
Under a GMS contract the practice is obliged to make an assessment and then take appropriate action based on that assessment and therefore the practice could triage calls from wherever a patient is.
Advice for patients whilst abroad
As GPs you do need to be aware of your responsibilities in signing FP10’s for patients’ travelling abroad, i.e.. the resultant monitoring and treatment of the patient’s condition and any adverse effects of doing so.
GPs are not required by their Terms of Service to provide prescriptions for the treatment of a condition that is not present and may arise while the patient is abroad. Persons who have left the UK, or who are intending to leave the UK, for more than 3 months are not normally allowed to continue to be registered with a practice.
Update from CCG
Update from Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group:
Changes to primary medical care and community health services in Lyme Regis
Towards the end of 2018 we (NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group) held an event to inform people living in and around Lyme Regis about changes to primary medical care and community health services in Lyme Regis Medical Centre (LRMC).
We recognise that a number of people were expecting an update sooner in the year and would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their patience.
Primary Medical Services
From 1st June 2019 the Lyme Regis Medical Centre and the Lyme Bay Medical Practice will join together as a single Practice, led by Dr Forbes Watson. The intention is for GP and nurse services currently provided at LRMC to continue, in the same building. The only difference will be that, instead of being employees of Virgin Care, the doctors and nurses will be employed directly by this single local Practice, while the two separate patient lists will become one list registered with this Practice.
NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, Virgin Care and Dr Watson are working closely to ensure a seamless coming together of services. Staff across LRMC and Lyme Bay Medical Centre will now be working together to shape services going forward following a LRMC staff event on 5th March 2019.
Plans are progressing well and we are confident that this will result in a smooth transition for patient care.
Q & A’s – Lyme Bay Medical Practice
We continue to work very hard to shape the new Lyme Bay Medical Practice and are aiming for a smooth transition on June 1st.Staff have been very engaged in the process and worked closely with me and Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust, who will be providing community services. You will find below responses to a number of questions we have received through the consultation events, Patient Participation Groups and Lyme Forward. I hope you find these helpful and we would plan to continue to keep you updated as much as possible. If however you do have further questions then please contact the Practice directly.
I believe this to be a very positive change for Lyme Regis and hope that we can build on the strong foundation that already exists to address the healthcare needs of you and your loved ones.
Frequently Asked Questions – Lyme Bay Medical Practice
Q: When will the two practices combine?
A: 1st June 2019
Q: What is the name of the new combined practice?
A: Lyme Bay Medical Practice
Q: Will you still have the same phone number/fax number/email?
A: Yes-all contact details will stay the same but we will have a new website
Q: Will both buildings be used as it is at present and in the long run?
A: Both buildings will continue to be used.
Q: Will there be changes made to the way I book appointments & can I still request a home visit?
A: Appointments can be booked in the usual way by telephone or electronically. Home Visits will be available however we will always ask you to attend the surgery if possible as we can offer more care there.
Q: Will the opening hours stay the same at both sites? Will these be extended and will there still be Saturday morning surgery?
A: The opening hours will be 8am – 6.30pm Monday – Friday. There will be a nurse led minor injury and illness service on a Saturday. There is access to GP delivered services at Bridport Community Hospital from 6-8pm Monday to Friday and 9am-1pm on Saturday.
Q: How will the triage system work?
A: You will be asked if willing to give the receptionist some background to your complaint. This is to give us a better opportunity to assess your need.You are than likely to receive call-back from a Nurse Practitioner who will assess and advise according to need
Q: Will it make it harder for me to book an appointment with a GP/nurse?
A: No, it should be easier as we will have more appointments available.
Q: Will I still be able to make an appointment to see my usual doctor/ nurse and will this be at my usual surgery?
A: Provided your usual doctor/nurse is available you will be able to make an appointment to see them. You will be told where that is when you book
Q: Will patient information be on the same database and accessible to all clinicians at all sites?
A: The practice has a single computer system where all patient information is held and all qualified healthcare professionals have access.
Q: How will the new arrangement benefit GPs, Nurses and Practice staff at the practice?
A: There will be an increase of total number of appointments available and a tried and tested triage system so you see the most appropriate person for your need.
Q: Will any service that is currently offered by my usual surgery be removed or stopped and how will you make sure there is no reduction in the quality of services that is provided?
A: There are no plans to stop any current services. We constantly monitor the quality of our services and are externally inspected. There are also several ways through which patients can give feedback.
Q: Will you be able to provide any new services to patients and what service may improve?
A: We are planning to provide new services, details of which will be shared when available. One example is a new Consultant Led Paediatric Clinic starting in July.
Q: Will there be any changes to how I access the GP out of hour’s service/MIU?
A: There will be no change to how the Out of Hours Service is accessed. MIU will offer a minor illness service in addition to minor injuries. We would encourage patients to telephone first so we can triage their need.
Q: Will I still be able to access community services?
A: Yes. These will be provided by Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust whowill provided more detailed information
Q: Will I still be able to drop my prescription/sample/letter/other item off to my usual Practice?
A: Yes - this will be available at both sites.
Q: Will the intended affect any treatment or medication I am currently receiving either at my usual surgery or any hospital and will I still have access to RD & E & DCH in the future?
Q: I currently use the online appointment booking/medication ordering system, will this still work?
A: Yes - we would like to encourage use of this wherever possible and will be looking to expand it.
Q: Will there be one patient participation group (PPG)?
A: Yes - this is presently being progressed
Q: I have further questions I would like to ask and/or comments I would like to make. How do I do this?
A: Please contact reception at either site or use the ‘contact us’ link on the website.
Practice Update - 1 June 2019
On 1st June 2019 Lyme Regis Medical Centre and Lyme Bay Medical Practice joined together as a single Practice, led by Dr Forbes Watson. The intention is for GP and nurse services currently provided at LRMC to continue, in the same building as well as at Kent House.